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Unilever annual profit drops 15% on flat sales

Profit after tax dropped 15% last year to $7b

By AFP - Feb 11,2024 - Last updated at Feb 11,2024

This photo, taken on June 5, 2015, shows employees pass the logo of Unilever at the headquarters in Rotterdam (AFP file photo)

LONDON — British consumer goods giant Unilever last week said its profit after tax dropped 15 per cent last year to 6.5 billion euros ($7 billion) as sales flattened. 

Chief Executive Hein Schumacher said in the earnings statement that "competitiveness remains disappointing and overall performance needs to improve" at the group whose products include Magnum ice cream, Cif surface cleaner and Dove soap.

Group revenue dipped 0.8 per cent to 59.6 billion euros last year compared with 2022. 

Businesses and consumers worldwide continue to battle higher costs as inflation remains stubbornly high, especially in the UK. 

Schumacher became Unilever CEO last year, replacing Alan Jope who had come under fierce pressure from activist investors. 

Jope had led Unilever's failed $50 billion bid for the former healthcare unit of drug maker GlaxoSmithKline.

Schumacher, the former head of Dutch dairy and nutrition firm Royal FrieslandCampina, launched in October an action plan to grow Unilever.

"The new leadership team has embedded the action plan at pace," he added in Thursday's results statement.

"We are at the early stages of this work and there is much to do but we are moving with speed and urgency to transform Unilever into a consistently higher performing business," he added.

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